SOON THE DARKNESS
DVD region 2. Optimum.
some remakes immediately cause a furious reaction amongst the
more blockheaded division of horror fandom (with pointless petitions
and death threats from bedroom warriors), others slip by unnoticed
– the only question raised by their existence being “why?”.
So it is with And Soon the Darkness, a rather
unlikely retread of a film that only has name recognition to a
relatively small band of Brit horror enthusiasts.
This new version starts out as a reasonable facsimile of the original
film before heading off into its own direction, and so you have
to wonder what the point of the remake – which presumably
involves additional expenditure in terms of story rights –
is, when with a few tweaks, this would probably pass as a completely
Amber Heard and Odette Yustman are Stephanie and Ellie, two American
tourists on a cycling holiday in Argentina, who find themselves
cut off from the rest of their tour after going their own way
and missing the only bus of the day back. Stuck in a small village,
they visit the local sights and bicker with each other until Stephanie
storms off. Both realising that this is not such a good idea,
they text each other and agree to meet at a local café,
but Ellie fails to show up. A fellow American, Michael (Karl Urban),
conveniently shows up to help Stephanie search for her friend,
while the local policeman seems unconcerned and the villagers
All this is close enough to the original film, albeit with a Hollywood
gloss and a distinct Hostel feel to the opening
scenes, where dumb American tourists blindly ignore the dangers
around them. Ironically though, the Argentinean setting seems
less bleak and sinister than the French countryside of the original,
and the two girls less convincing as real people than Michele
Dotrice and Pamela Franklin were.
But while the original film plays with the idea of who can be
trusted until the end, this remake tries to have ambiguous characters
who may or may not be trustworthy, while also revealing who the
kidnapper is right away. It’s not something that will be
an issue if you haven’t seen the 1970 version, but for those
of us who have, it’s a major problem.
Thankfully, the film goes off in its own direction for the final
half hour, and although the shocks on offer are hardly original,
it does develop a story that works well. There’s an impressive
moment of moral ambiguity with Urban’s character, and while
the twists are generally unsurprising to anyone who has ever seen
a horror film, the movie does manage to build a certain tension.
Compared to the original film, this is inferior stuff for sure
(if you haven't seen it, seek it out now!); but looked at as a
stand-alone thriller, it’s a wholly watchable and entertaining
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